By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The conditions were ideal for Wednesday’s 11:05 a.m. start between the Everett AquaSox and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, as sunshine and pleasant temperatures accompanied the large Kids Day crowd at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Sox, someone forgot to set the alarm clock for the Everett bats.
Everett managed a paltry three hits as the Sox were shut out 1-0 by the Volcanoes in their annual daytime contest.
Everett was coming off a game in which it slugged four homers in a 7-5 victory over the Volcanoes on Tuesday night, an outburst the Sox were hoping would spark an offense that’s spent much of the season in a deep slumber. But not only did Everett fail to leave the yard Wednesday, the Sox’s three hits were all singles, including one blooper and one infield hit. Everett advanced just one baserunner past second base.
“It was tough getting any offense going today,” Everett manager Dave Valle said. “I don’t know why. We just didn’t get anything going, not a really pretty day for the boys.”
Everett’s hitters proved hapless against three Salem-Keizer pitchers. Starter Nick Gonzalez was dominating over six innings, allowing just two hits, a walk and striking out six to earn the win. Dusten Knight relieved Gonzalez and tossed a perfect frame, then Eury Sanchez fanned three over the final two innings to pick up the save.
“They kept us in the game,” Salem-Keizer manager Gary Davenport said of his pitchers. “We’ve been struggling to get guys on base and score — we get them on base, but we can’t score them. So it was good to see that our pitchers kind of shut them down a little bit.
“(Gonzalez) was around the plate a lot. He kept his pitches down and he kept his pitch count down.”
Everett’s most impotent offensive display of the season meant the Sox wasted a tremendous performance from pitchers Jeffeson Medina and Kody Kerski, who did everything they could to drag Everett to victory.
Medina’s peripheral numbers — eight hits allowed in seven innings, just two strikeouts — weren’t anything special. But the right-hander from Venezuela compensated by keeping the ball down and in the strike zone. Medina didn’t walk a batter, and 15 of the 21 outs he recorded came via ground balls.
“He was fantastic,” Valle said of Medina. “He gave up that run in the first inning, but then he really settled down. The defense () got him into some tough jams, but he pitched his way out of it. It was probably the best I’ve seen him throw yet.”
Kerski then came in and pitched scoreless ball over the final two frames, striking out three. But Everett’s offense couldn’t help the pitchers out.
Will Callaway and Travious Relaford each finished 2-for-4 for Salem-Keizer (16-17).
Everett dropped to 9-24.
The unusual start time — eight hours earlier than a typical game — seemed to affect the energy level of the players, but Valle wasn’t about to allow that as an excuse.
“They’re young guys,” he said. “If they can’t get up for an 11 o’clock game, they’re in the wrong business.”
Salem-Keizer scored the game’s only run in the top of the first. Seth Harrison led off by doubling to the left-field corner. He advanced to third and then scored on grounder to third.
Gonzalez faced the minimum through the first three innings, worked his way out of a jam in the fourth, then cruised through the rest of his outing. Everett made one last push in the eighth, putting runners on first and second with two out, but was unable to capitalize.